Friday, 30 March 2012

Matt Had A Baby On The Side Of The Road

For those of you who majored in biology, you`ll probably realize that Matt wasn`t actually the one who had the baby. `Twas his wife, Kathy. But because Matt is a very prominent personality in any situation he is in, you find yourself just saying "Matt did this or that". So, Matt had a baby. In the car. On a busy road. 

On Calgary's biggest street was born a wee babe during rush hour. Delivered by his dad, in the park lane of Macleod trail this morning at 6ish. Kathy told Matt to pull over which he resisted, carefully calculating what that meant. With legs dangling in the ditch, and cradling the babies head in her hands, while propped against the console, she delivered said baby into Matt's confident hands. The ambulance arrived about four minutes later to find the happy little family, mom and baby still attached, waiting patiently for roadside assistance.

Now you're probably saying to yourself "Who the heck is Matt?" 

That is a very good question, and even though he's been my older brother for practically my entire life, sometimes even I don't know the answer to that question. 

As a good friend of ours recently said, "Matt should be on the show Canada's Know-It-All. Turns out he can assist birthing a child in a car. Chalk it up as another one of those things that Matt just figures out and does well on the fly."

This is all very true, but if you grew up with Matt, I think that you'd find that it's not as inherent a skill as many would like to believe. It was a learning process, and several of my favorite toys met untimely demises due to Matt's "modifications". I remember when he tried to make my Scorcher 6x6 remote control car submersible. He modified it so that it could be placed in water. In the end, he did place it in water, and that's like halfway there I guess. Points for trying I suppose.

Here is a picture of the un-modified baby boy.
By 10 years old he had gotten his paws on several of my dad's tools. He managed to hook up an original Nintendo and television to a battery pack he had welded together out of old socks and vaseline (or something like that). We got literally minutes of playtime out of the t.v./nintendo combo before it ran out of juice. 

So you see, the guy's just got a knack for knowing how stuff works. I wasn't surprised at all that he figured out how to deliver a baby in a car on the side of a busy road. In fact, I'm sure by now he's figured out how to do it even faster next time. He could deliver a baby in a rollercoaster if it weren't for the silly "regulations" that the government puts on that kind of thing. 

Although before I get too far, I should mention his wife Kathy. She helped in the delivery too. We all have some part to play right?

Matt with his helper. He probably wouldn't have been able to do it without her.

I've gotten to know them both quite a bit better as of late. Since I got laid off of my job I've been working in Calgary (2 hours away) and staying at Matt's house during the week. Knowing how good he is at everything I should really take up some of my broken stuff next time I go up. I could take up that toaster that's been just sitting dusty in a corner for years. He could probably deliver me a nice, new, baby toaster. On the side of the road no less. 

So that's Matt. If you don't know Matt, you think I made him up. If you do know Matt, you know I toned him down quite a bit to make him believable. 

Here's the ugliest picture I could find of Matt. Why? Because brothers.

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Monday, 26 March 2012

A Tea Party with ALL the Trimmings

Finding myself husband-less for the weekend, I decided to make the trek out to Hill Spring to stay at my sister Jana's place for a few days. We swap babysitting from time to time, and such was the case for this voyage. It's only an hour from her driveway to mine, so really it's not that bad of a drive, assuming the weather cooperates. 

I am fairly familiar with a good portion of the people from Hill Spring. Both my brother and my sister and their families live there, a few good friends from high school, as well as some of Ryley's extended family. When Jana invited me out to a Tea Party with some of the ladies from the area, I was glad to go, and felt welcome attending. When considering the amount of people I knew would probably be attending, I assumed there would be someone there for me to get to know better. Instead of taking the easy route with a family member or family member-in-law, I decided to take the opportunity to sit beside someone new or someone I'd like to get reacquainted with.

Ryley and I have lived in our house for 5 years, which, for some reason, amazes me. But aside from that, we have had the opportunity to see people come and go in our neighborhood. During that time I had the chance to meet Tracey Beck, and visit with her a few times. But shortly after I had met her, she moved out to Hill Spring. I assumed I would see her again soon since I'm frequently in Hill Spring, but I didn't think it would take two years to reconnect, and at a Tea Party nonetheless. 

I had the opportunity to sit next to Tracey and take little time to reconnect while we sipped from our tea cups. Lots has changed in the past two years; I'm back to school and she's since had a baby who's almost a year old! I really didn't think Tracey remembered much of the few times we visited before she moved, but I was surprised when she turned to me and said, "Trish, I really have to thank you."  She continues, "my husband hardly eats ichiban noodles anymore and less macaroni and cheese since we moved. I never liked it when he did, but I couldn't get him to listen to me when I'd say it was't good for him." I tried to remember back the best I could... I must have gone off on a nutrition tangent at some point in a past conversation, but I was really glad that what I'd said had made a difference. And I thank Tracey for bringing it to my attention, it made me happy.   

I can't recall ever attending a Tea Party party before, but this one was everything I had imagined one would be like: Tables of appetizers and finger food, sweet treats and dessert, flowers and fine tea china, complete with everyone wearing hats and the Cheshire Cat in the Tree. Did I forget to mention we were in Wonderland for the evening? And to accommodate this all for more than 70 ladies! That's an accomplishment. My hat goes off to those in charge. It was a wonderful evening. 

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Friday, 23 March 2012

You can take away my job, but you can't take away my friends...

Trish used to be a waitress at a particular restaurant. I won't mention the name of it because I'm about defame the junk out of it.

The staff at this place was really cool. Everyone got along great and the bosses themselves were very caring for the staff. Unfortunately, some time ago the restaurant was purchased by some other people who decided to fire almost every last (student) employee (during the holidays no least) and replace them with family members. 

What was interesting, is that many of the people from the restaurant have kept in really good touch with each other, and because of this continued connection, we found ourselves having lunch with Matt.

Matt is one of the nicest people that I think I have ever met. You know how when your spouse knows a person of the opposite gender your instinct kicks in and you immediately compare them to yourself? (Don't lie, we all do this). You have to check that they aren't as good looking as you, that they aren't as funny as you, etc. It's not that you're worried or anything, you just have to check. 

My point is, that this doesn't happen with Matt. Matt is such a genuinely nice person, that you don't have to do the "is he better than me at anything" check. I think this comes from there being absolutely no shred of dishonesty in the guy. 

We had a lunch at the Saigonese Restaurant (love that place). Matt informed us on the ins and outs of journalism, as that's what he's in school for. We had a great time, with a great guy, and had some good laughs. I mean, how can you not have a good time with a guy who's main passions are unicorns and narwhales?

p.s. - Matt, if you read this, I would still like a copy of your unicorn song...

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A Play Date Out of the Ordinary

I am continually surprised at how many other students in my nursing group are also parents. I find it refreshing to know that I'm not the only one whose main priority isn't school. It's enlightening to make the connections with the other moms, and dads too, and to talk through the stresses of school. And it's comforting to know that I'm not the only one who loses sleep when the kiddos get sick...

The past couple weeks have been a little stressful with the transition from Ryley's job and trying to coordinate the change with school and babysitting. But I've found the best thing for Grayson and I to do is to keep busy and spend time with family and friends. Play dates are a refreshing break from the ordinary routine, and especially welcome when Ryley is out of town for the week.

Angela, a good friend from school, invited Grayson and I out for a play date. However, if you're from southern Alberta, you know that meeting at the park is dependent on the weather, specifically they wind. And we should have known that it would blow. But instead of rescheduling, (even aside from the wind, Angel's back was out so she had a good reason to cancel,) Angela invited me out to her place for a visit. I could tell she was a little hesitant to ask me to drive out to her place since it was a little ways out of town.  Kudos to Angela for asking, rather than assuming, because I was more than happy to take a short drive to get out of the house for a little while.

Angela's son isn't quite a year-old yet, so Grayson was a little timorous playing aside the little guy. Conveniently Angela is located beside a little hobby farm, and is also in the process of building a house. What better to appeal to a 3 year-old than animals and construction stuff. So we ventured outside to wander through the framed house and visited a few friends along the way.

If anyone knows me well, they'll know that I have a soft spot for geese. I don't really know why, they just fascinate me. I don't think they were intended to be included with our farm tour, but they located themselves conveniently across the fence. I couldn't resist, I had to approach them, but  they weren't as welcoming has I'd hoped. I got a couple laughs from the hissing, and we moved on.

I think Grayson enjoyed watching the chickens, since his favorite cereal is corn flakes and it has a chicken on the box. But I think his highlight of the day was the kitty that followed us around and throwing the ball for Angela's big dogs to chase.

I have to say that I think our play date was much more exciting visiting  Angela's place than playing at the park like we do so often. And it will be fun to see her house more than just walls when it's all done. I was also told that there will be baby goats in a few weeks. I may like baby goats almost as much as I like the geese. I think we shall be returning in the near future.

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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Chillin' With The Old Dude

Back before I was laid off I found myself working for the day out in Claresholm. It was kind of a last-minute thing, there was some issues out there that needed to be taken care of ASAP.

As such, I didn't really plan a lunch. This may or may not have been on purpose, seeing as there is an A & W out in Claresholm, and I have a bit of a soft spot for that place. Onion rings. 

At around 3 in the afternoon I found myself in a mostly deserted A & W. An old guy in a corner table made a comment about my hat. (I had been taping all day and had many splotches of white drywall mud on my cap). He said it looked like the seagull pooping army had attacked me. 

Ha ha old guy. 

As I made my order I was thinking about the fact that I didn't have anyone to blog about that day. So I decided the old guy would pay for his insolence by becoming my blog object for the day. 

Instead of asking if I could take a seat with him I just sat on down. He didn't even blink an eye. We chatted over some burgers about who we were and he filled me in on the details of his quite colorful life. 

I didn't have a camera on me, so unfortunately Ken The Old Guy will forever go without picture evidence. I have decided, however, that anytime I'm by myself in a restaurant I'm just gonna plop down at someone's table. It's so much better to be in the company of someone, even if they are a stranger.

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Wednesday, 14 March 2012


Rarely in the past couple years have I had a day entirely to myself. I've had time with the husband and without the child and vice versa, but rarely have I been solo. And in the past when I have had that time it's usually because I have to work, or school and what not. Initially that's what the plan was for. 

Originally I had arranged for Grayson to be at my sister's place for a couple days while Ryley was up in Calgary working because I had a couple evening clinical shifts. Said shifts are difficult to coordinate with the sitter, so I opt to have him spend time with the grandparents or his cousins instead. But lucky for me, one of my clinical shifts was cancelled last minute, and I was left with no plans. What a great feeling! However, I found myself unsure of what to do, almost like I had forgotten what I did by myself. I felt obligated to do some homework, but as the same time I felt I needed to take advantage of the situation. 

And that I did. 

Conveniently a friend posted on Facebook that very evening about a girls night out at Firestone for dessert. I'll admit that if this was sometime last year, I probably would have let the opportunity pass by... However my thought's this year were: How could I not? Especially with dessert at Firestone. For those of you who have never tried Them Donuts there, I recommend it. Highly. We frequent Them Donuts on a regular basis. However, I had been there with Ryley a few days previous and spied the giant cookie sundae on the feature menu and I had to try it instead. 

The night was a blast. I had the opportunity to spend time with six fantastic ladies, a few of whom I knew previous, but most I had never met before. I'm not entirely sure whose idea it was, but the conversation centered around how we met our husbands and how we got engaged. I wasn't aware until now how entertaining such an intimate story can be! The conversation lent itself to much laughter, and a few happy tears, and overall an opportunity to get to know some great women. 

Please forgive the poor quality of the iPhone pic...

And did I mention that I had a giant cookie sundae, all to myself? Either way, here's the delicious evidence that I shamelessly ate.. 

All by myself. I'll add that to the list with the coconut cream pie... That I ate all by myself. 

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Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Tagging Along

Recently I managed to get myself laid off. I find that I'm careful to point out that I didn't get fired. But who am I kidding? For all intents and purposes, they're really the same thing.

So I find myself back up in Calgary working. I was thinking about trying out that whole "retiring" thing that old people keep talking about, but Trish wouldn't go for that. Pity. 

Doing work in the construction field in Calgary is a pretty decent gig I guess. The only thing that really bothers me is being away from Trish and Grayson. I took it on myself, therefore, to take care of the blog whilst I was away, as Trish had enough to worry about with Grayson and her less favored child: School.

I stay up at my brother's place while I'm up in Calgary, and it just so happens that one of the first nights that I was up there he got us invited to someone's house for dinner. It was actually supper, but he was an American, so in the name of bilinguilness, I'll henceforth refer to supper as dinner, to pylons as traffic cones, and food as bacon. 

Matt and Jocelyn invited us over to dinner for some bacon. Jocelyn actually made some incredible bacon. It was a family recipe that was passed down for generations, and you won't find it anywhere else. That's right, I have the exclusive scoop on it. All I had to do was pocket one of the "items" and reverse engineer it in my garage. The result: A yummy recipe that you can make your family for your next bacon.

Jocelyn's Bacony Goodness

1. Cook some chicken breasts. Like 2. Or something. Cook them until cooked. When done cooking, stop them from cooking any further.

2. Dangle chicken from string in front of cats until shredded into many tiny strips. Pulled pork style.

3. Add 1 block of Philadelphia Cream Cheese. 

4. Mash that stuff together.

5. Open can of Pillsbury croissants dough thingies.

6. Wrap small balls of the chicken/cream cheese mash in croissants. Take care to completely seal the little balls of goodness.

7. Cook on 350 degrees Celsius. Or, if your oven is in Kelvin, get back to your physics research. 

8. Cook until goldenny brown on top. This usually takes several time units. 

So that's that. These are very yummy, so I encourage you to make them for your family. I hope you all appreciate the trouble I went through to bring you these. 

After dinner I played "making princess puzzles" with the two little girls on the floor. It wasn't gay at all.

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Saturday, 10 March 2012

Bribing With Zucchini Brownies

Some days at clinical are long days. Then there are the days that seem to never end, especially when clinical is scheduled on a weekend. Or maybe it's really not that bad and I'm whining because I was a little discouraged because Ryley had left to work up in Calgary for a week. But on the up-side it was the last shifts on my current rotation and I had the opportunity to do some baking, which I thoroughly enjoy doing, because I had offered to bring something as a token of appreciation for the staff on the unit. 

Let me explain a little more about my passion for food...

As a nutritionist, I am always trying to find creative and deceiving ways to camouflage fruits and vegetables, and add flax and fibre into what I feed my family. Heck, even my cat eats spinach!  I'd say most of the time I'm successful, and Grayson has no clue that there's spinach and sweet potatoes in his oatmeal. But there's the odd occasion that he refuses my concoctions or picks out the green flecks in his food at supper time. I have, however, found a couple favorite dishes that I've found through my recipe surfing. One such, is Zucchini Brownies. Zucchini? You might ask? Don't be too quick to judge that it doesn't belong in brownies. Or that I don't eat brownies because I know a few things about nutrition. And this is where the brownies and clinical come together. 

Some of my fellow students like to pick my brain about some of their nutrition questions in class and at clinical. They also see the baggie of mixed vegetables that I bring in my lunch every shift. And when I try to convince them that I am a popcorn addict, I have Miss Vicki's chips stashed in my cupboard and there's a fresh pan of brownies on the stove... my peers don't believe me. And yes, left on my own, which I was since Ryley was working out of town, I would have finished the rest of the brownies, by myself. I'm not against it, but I figured it would be better to have a little company and share the goodness of Zucchini Brownies. I also had to prove that the zucchini made the brownies oh so moist and chewy. 

What a better way to spend, what would have beem a lonely, brownie binging evening by myself, than to have Malissa over to share the brownies with. Plus I had to prove that I actually had the said junk food items in my kitchen. We had a great time watching an IV pump tutorial video for the next day at clinical. Okay, maybe the video was less than exciting, but I think Malissa is a believer in the goodness of zucchini in the brownies. 

For your convenience, I've included the recipe below. Like I've mentioned previously, I actually prefer the 
Zucchini Brownie to a regular one, especially since they are slightly less bad for you. Omit the icing, 
and they are a little less bad. Reduce the sugar or replace part of it with something like Splenda, and, 
well, I'll stop before I get any deeper into my nutrition babble. 

Zucchini Brownies

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup ground flax
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp milk (soy milk or almond milk also works nicely)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and cocoa dust a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, ground flax, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini (If you want to get precise, I use ~ 450g of zucchini...) Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched.
  4. To make the frosting, melt together the 4 tablespoons of cocoa and butter; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the icing sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares. 

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The Great Debate

We're only about three months in to our little project here and we are already starting to run out of things to do. That's why it's really great that some of our friends have felt pity for us and started to help us find things to do.

Someone who is especially keen on helping us keep our heads above water is Lacey and Aaron (Erin when he's being a little girl). So far they've thrown several ideas at us and planned several of our nights. This is good, because it means Trish doesn't have to divorce me when I turn into a burnt out pile of ragged goo. 

Lacey and Aaron planned a night of debating. Yup. That was the goal. The night before, we all watched the same documentary on vaccinations. Each of us was allowed to research any supplemental material that we wanted, and we all met for supper at Lacey's, with the express purpose of arguing all evening.

Jeff and Chelsie were our bogees that night. Chelsie is the sister of Aaron, and Jeff is the older brother of one of my best friends growing up. Of course Jeff didn't remember me, as he's several years older, and I was just some annoying brat that came to his house on Saturdays. 

As usual, Lacey supplied an amazing meal for us to fatten ourselves up on. I think that she thought that if she stuffed enough food into us we wouldn't have the energy to throw any punches when the debate got heated. It worked. 

I won't get into the particulars of the debate, but it was one of the most interesting nights I've had in awhile. Going in, we'd never met Chelsie or Jeff (I'd been at his house alot, but like I said, older brother to my friend. We were ignored). I've never gotten to know somebody by arguing with them, and I was worried it wouldn't go over all that well. 

We had a great time. Part of the reason was the amazingly good enchiladas that Lacey provided, but it was also a great way to break the ice with people you don't know. We plan on getting to know Jeff and Chelsie better, since they've recently moved to town. 

I fully plan on making this a regular thing.  

You can tell by the faces on people whether or not they won or lost the debate. In case you can't tell, I'll provide
the answers below...

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Friday, 9 March 2012

Sometimes the best things in life are free...

You know those flyers that you get in the mail?

"Customer appreciation party!" "Come celebrate our 25th anniversary as a little known business!"

Seriously. Does anyone actually go to those things?

I get them in the mail all the time, but I always kind of figure that nobody really goes to them. It must just be the employees (who are forced to come) standing around waiting for the night to be over.

Beachcomber hot tubs recently sent us an invite to a customer appreciation party, where it claimed that we would be sampling the finest cheeses and wines. Now my ears perked up at the cheese part, but I still wasn't sure that I wanted to stoop to the level of going to a customer appreciation party.

Then I remembered our blog.

Trish gave me that look when she saw the invite in the mail. That look that says, "You know we are going to do this, right?" I knew my fate was sealed at that moment.

So we did go. We figured it would be a great way to meet a few people.

Turns out there is a large group of people that goes to these things. I figured that there were nearly 100 people crammed inside that place. To top it all off, they had live entertainment by Trevor Panczak, who has seriously got some pipes on him. Also, the long-haired dude from The Chevelles (Tim Carter) was there gettin' groovy in the odd song.

Great food, great entertainment, and a chance to win a trip to Vegas... And to think we would have otherwise not come!
Sometimes the best things in life are free, and even better when you've got a good lookin' date sitting beside you.

We had a great time, and that was seriously unexpected. This was more one of those "Oh, we should probably do that for the sake of the blog" things. If rarely been more unexpectedly surprised. I will be attending all future customer appreciation nights, and I now have high expectations for them.

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Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Everyone Is Unique

Sometimes people have convictions that they don't wear on their sleeves. In today's world, it seems like everyone is struggling to feel like they have some sort of identity, and so we latch onto something that we feel makes us unique, and then try to plaster that image as blatantly as we can across our lives so there is no mistaking just how unique we are.

And I don't mean to be cynical here, because I am probably the worst offender for this. Especially with music. I like to think that I'm SO ahead of the curve with my little indie bands. Which actually aren't little indie bands, they're HUGE indie bands, us fans just don't interact with each other so we can all feel underground. I'm so unique, just like everybody else.

What I'm getting at, is that it's incredibly refreshing when you learn that someone has something about them that makes them actually unique, but you don't learn that until you have known that person for some time. It's that guy who speaks seven languages fluently and yet doesn't order burritos at taco bell in Spanish. It's the girl that has three university degrees, yet doesn't bring them up when trying to win an argument. 

It's Mark. I've known Mark for a long time, introduced through my brother. I was going to say some of the cool things that make Mark unique, but it would kind of be counter-intuitive to my post here. Let's just say that he's got some really cool standards he lives by, yet doesn't cram them down your throat. Doesn't judge you. This is cool. This is refreshing.

Since Mark is unique, I thought this unique picture would suit.
Maybe Mark has more talents than we know??
Or maybe Grayson is playing with his toy guitar nearby... 

I'm going to try and be a little more silent about my convictions, or anything else that I feel makes me unique. Everyone and their dog has heard about a hundred times how I got dengue fever once. Oh, and look! I'm bringing it up again in a thinly-veiled attempt to pretend it wasn't on purpose. Is it sad that the only way I can feel unique is by getting diseases? 

Yes, yes it is. 

So Mark. Is cool, and taught me how to have beliefs with class. He knows everything about just about everything, but doesn't pull credentials in debates. He doesn't use his beliefs to try and justify how unique he wishes he was. The result of this is that he truly is unique. In a room full of shouting people, I find myself drawn to the person who is standing quietly. Maybe he knows something I don't. 

And we play board games, so there's that.

Yes, Ryley, you play board games, but another reason Mark is unique is because he wins them.

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Monday, 5 March 2012

Berry Soup and Fry Bread

I grew up right next to the Blood Tribe. In fact, the highway that runs through my town separates the reserve from the rest of the town. Unfortunately, this isn't the only thing that separates the Blood Reserve and town.

I wouldn't say that the town I grew up in is actually racist at all. (Of course, I'm looking at this all through white colored lenses). Rather, there's just kind of a feeling of separation. Not of hostility, but just apathy towards interaction.

This feeling, more than anything, contributes to the general lack of understanding between the two groups. Like I said, I'd like to believe that there isn't any major hostility present, just a feeling of indifference. If there is one thing, however, that breaks through the barriers and gets people interested in interacting, it's when the Blood Tribe starts to cook fry bread.

We all knew growing up that when we did our Native studies in elementary school, that someone would be coming by to cook fry bread, and these were some of the only times that we were excited to go to school. I honestly don't know how to make it, and I'm told it's not that difficult. But somehow the fry bread that gets made by the Blood Tribe is far better than other imposter fry breads that I have sampled. It's just better. Try to imagine what fry bread tastes like. Now imagine something better. You're not even close.

When we heard that the Native Association was holding a free berry soup and fry bread lunch at the university, we made plans immediately to be there. I had never had berry soup before, but it's made with Saskatoon berries, and as far as I'm concerned, there's never any need to do anything else with Saskatoon berries for as long as I live.

There were five or six girls hanging out dishing out the portions, and as we arrived a little late there wasn't anyone else dishing up. We took advantage of the opportunity to pester the girls about the soups and how they were made, and try to get them to give us the recipes, which they did not. Trish will be googling them to try and get you all a copy though.
(Success! Recipe at the bottom...)

The girls indulged our questions and nagging conversation just fine, most likely because we had Grayson with us and he's too cute to refuse. I've found that if you want to get to know someone, showing a genuine (that part is important) interest in their culture can open doors to conversation that otherwise wouldn't be available. They even let Grayson go in the child-sized tipi for a picture, which, by the way they will be raffling off at the university soon.

So food. Fry bread and berry soup. Not only was good, but we got to know some people that otherwise we may have been to timid to approach. I'll approach almost anyone for fry bread.

Traditional Berry Soup
   6 cups Saskatoon berries
   1 cup sugar
   8 cups water 
   1/3 cup flour
   1 cup water

     In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add sugar and berries, let water and sugar boil at medium heat for 20 minutes. Optional: To thicken soup, gradually add the mixture of flour and water (no lumps).
     Stir the soup occasionally, making sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. Additional sugar can be added to sweeten. Boil for at least another 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve hot.
Average cooking time: 40 – 60 minutes

And yes, berry soup goes excellent with fry bread. 

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Sunday, 4 March 2012

Cookies Are For Sharing

We found ourselves without a plan the other night. We had to think of something, and fast.

It was around eight at night, and we've done pretty well so far. Granted, we don't always get the blog posts up (we're actually slightly behind right now) but we've managed to not screw up the schedule of meeting people for every day.

So we didn't want to wreck it on that night either. Like some kind of magician Trish whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookies in less than half an hour, and we put the coats and boots on to head over to get to know the neighbors.

I know it's not exactly considered polite to just show up at the neighbor's house and expect them to indulge you in conversation, but we figured with the peace offering of a plate of cookies we should be able to gloss over those little rules of etiquette.

So we did get to know the neighbors. The ones that live across the street from us and we always nod at each other on the way to work. It wasn't an incredible experience where we shared all our innermost thoughts, but we did get some face time, a name, and next time we see them in the street, I expect that I'll be comfortable enough to strike up a conversation.

If any of our other neighbors are reading this, consider if fair warning: We plan on knowing all your names by the end of the year, so expect cookies, and expect them late at night without warning.

First time to the blog? Click here to read more about our endeavor.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

A Party to End All Parties

Nobody can throw a party like Megan (Sugden) Toone.

Ever since I was a wee little lad I can recall Megan throwing all sorts of themed parties. She has an incredible talent for taking the mundane and making it extraordinary. It's Friday. Wait, no it's not! It's MEXICAN THEMED BONFIRE PARTY DAY!


These are things that actually existed, and not just in the mind of a slightly quirky yet incredibly endearing woman. These things actually were created.

This is the big difference between Megan and me. Not the quirkiness. I have that too. And I'm also incredibly endearing. It's the making big plans into reality.

I have many big plans. I have plans for a treehouse with a moat that is full of gasoline instead of water so I can light it on fire when the other kids attack. I have plans for a giant aquarium right above my stove that I can push a button and it will suck a fish right out of the tank and onto your frying pan. I have another plan for a car that has missiles and the headlights are your aiming system and your horn is the fire button so you can bright people, honk at them, and then make them explode. These things only have like a 50% chance of happening.

But Megan always seems to come through on her plans. When she says she's going to do something, she doesn't just come through, she comes through with such a higher level of completion that  you are expecting. If I had a business I would hire a billion Megans to work for me, then I would be Google.

She had us over with several other couples for a formal Academy Awards Celebration Knight (AACK). We arrived in style dressed to the nines. Another guest (Tanner) wore a bow tie and this made me incredibly jealous, but I think we all did okay. I had a vest, and vests are snazzy.

As we walk in the front door a flock of doves showered us in feathers as white as the purest mountain snows. Friendly forest animals unrolled a red carpet, keeping just inches in front of our steps with the unravelling. Perfumes from exotic lands greeted our noses as we entered the dining hall. Displayed in righteous glory sat a meal for kings. Nay, a meal that only kings would be fit to serve to the gods. We dined on food that could have only have been prepared by chefs who had exchanged their souls for the unholy ability to prepare a calibre of food beyond imagining. Then we watched the oscars on t.v.

You think I'm exaggerating. Check out the pictures.

Why do we look up to Megan? She taught us not only to do something, but to do it well. Not only do it well, but exceed expectations.

Thank you for the fantastic night Megan! I don't think we will ever experience the Oscars like this again.

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Friday, 2 March 2012

Be An Expert

Grayson has been interested in the stars ever since he was old enough to look up. In fact, his very first word was star.

I've learned that if I'm in a hurry to keep his attention fixed on the ground if the stars are out, because if he gets a good look at a starry sky, it becomes imperative that we all stop what we are doing and look at a specific star. Somehow he knows if I fib when I say I can see the one he's pointing to.

We decided to head down to the Lethbridge Astronomy Society's open house. They bust out the telescopes and give a lecture once a month for anyone who wants to come. We figured we'd meet someone there.

We met a guy named Rod, who used to be the president of the organization, but is now taking a bit of a back seat to let others take on that role. He was more than courteous, and spent over an hour with us going through the basics of telescoping, and exactly what to buy for beginners (I'm gonna get one for Grayson). I could barely get a word in the entire time.

This is because Rod is passionate beyond reason about the stars. He just got back from a stargazing trip to New Mexico, and will be heading to Hawaii soon to get a better view of when Venus passes in front of the sun. He knew everything under the sun, and above it, about the stars. He obviously has spent thousands of hours gaining this type of knowledge on the subject. He not only was able to teach me about it, but could simplify it down so that even Grayson was left listening with rapt amazement.

I think that Rod is awesome. He is an expert, and that is something that I want to aspire to be. Everyone should be an expert on SOMETHING. It could be an instrument, it could be insects, or weight training, or art or history or whatever. Being an expert in something gives you a passion that you can share with other people.

Now when I say be an expert I don't mean read a wikipedia article, although those are really good and I think college professors are WAY too hard on poor old wikipedia. Learn everything about a topic. Experience everything about that topic. Know so much that people will want to listen to what you have to say.

I'm not really an expert on anything yet. I've kind of dabbled a little in almost everything. You could say I'm well-informed on almost every topic, yet an expert in none. I'm going to try and be  little more like Rod, and get a mastery on something. Maybe cats. The internet people love cats.

First time to the blog? Click here to read more about our endeavor.